“Secure, Stable Afghanistan” is the goal of the Delhi Declaration

NEW DELHI: On Wednesday afternoon, a regional security meeting hosted by India and attended by eight countries, including Russia and Iran, declared that Afghanistan and its territories cannot be used to house or train terrorists or to finance terrorism.

The eight participating countries, who were represented by their respective national security advisors, discussed the evolving Afghan situation, particularly the global ramifications following the Taliban’s takeover in August, according to a joint statement titled the Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan.

According to the statement, all countries paid special attention to Afghanistan’s current political crisis, as well as dangers from terrorism, radicalization, and drug trafficking.

The eight countries – India, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan – also emphasised the importance of providing all humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.

All countries “reaffirmed their firm commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including its financing, dismantling of terrorist infrastructure and countering radicalisation, to ensure Afghanistan would never become a safe haven for global terrorism.”

The Delhi Declaration expressed “deep concern” for the Afghan people and the “deteriorating socio-economic and humanitarian situation (that) underlined the need for immediate assistance,” as well as the importance of forming “an open and truly inclusive government that represents the will of all Afghan people and has representation from all sections of their society.”

The eight security advisers, all of whom are men, also stressed the “importance of preserving the fundamental rights of women, children, and minorities.”

In addition, the joint declaration emphasised the importance of assisting Afghanistan in combating COVID-19.

Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Advisor, urged for close consultations and increased regional cooperation and coordination on the Afghan situation earlier today.

“These have important implications not only for the people of Afghanistan, but also for the people of its neighbours and the region,” Mr Doval said in his opening remarks, adding, “I am confident that our deliberations will be productive, useful, and will contribute to helping the people of Afghanistan.”

This is the first time that all central Asian countries, not just Afghanistan’s close neighbours, are participating in this dialogue: Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

China had been invited to participate, but had declined owing to “scheduling reasons.” “We have already responded to the Indian side,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.

Pakistan was also invited, but it declined; Pak NSA Moeed Yusuf, according to Reuters, accused India of being a “spoiler” in the region last week.

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